22nd Mar2015

‘The Remaining’ DVD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Johnny Pacar, Shaun Sipos, Bryan Dechart, Alexa Vega, Italia Ricci, Liz E. Morgan, John Pyper-Ferguson, Kim Pacheco | Written by Casey La Scala, Chris Dowling | Directed by Casey La Scala

the-remaining

If there’s one thing I’ll never understand it’s the American obsession with the rapture. Over the past couple of years we’ve seen a ton of TV shows and movies centered around the biblical event and most – like The Remaining – are, frankly, terrible. From the gloriously over the top Nicolas Cage film Left Behind, to the completely unfunny (and a waste of the talents involved) Rapture-Palooza, it seems the mix of religious themes and current Hollywood film making do not gel. Then again maybe it’s because, despite a belief in a higher power, I’m not the target market for films of this nature – after all, most rapture-themed films play on inherent fears found in religion. Perhaps having no fear in, or of, religion means I am not as invested in these types of “scaremongering” stories.

And that’s not to say I didn’t want to give The Remaining a fair chance; because I did. Especially given that the films director, Casey La Scala, not only produced Donnie Darko but also directed one the most underrated teen movies of the early-2000s, the skateboard flick Grind. It was La Scala’s name that got me interested in seeing this film, but sadly his direction (and script) could not maintain that interest and two-thirds into the film I was just hanging on for it to end.

The Remaining tells the story of a group of close-knit friends who witness the rapture during one of the groups wedding. With the dead lying all around and… something… attacking those left alive, the group must not only battle internal struggles but also battle whatever monsters, be they of the human or supernatural kind, that are left behind. If that synopsis left you a little cold, then don’t hold out any hope for the actual film. A film whose biggest mistake is playing up the religious aspects of the story instead of the horrific. If La Scala and co. had made more of the terrifying creatures stalking the survivors then the film would have made for at least an entertaining horror-take on the rapture. As it is now the film is a middle-of-the-road, not-really-pleasing-or-offending-anyone, decidedly average genre flick.

Sadly not even the most interesting of the films cast can rescue The Remaining from monotony. John Pyper-Ferguson is totally wasted as the piano-playing preacher, whilst Alexa Vega – who has gone on to be one of the most stunning badasses in flicks like The Hunters and the Machete and Sin City sequels – is nothing more than a plot thread on which to hang copious amounts of exposition. It doesn’t help that said exposition is the only motivational factor in the entire film – without the frequent pauses to explain and discuss what is happening with each and every person they meet the film would be a complete mess. As it is now the movie is just a badly-plotted muddle of ideas that falls apart as it comes to the inevitable, confusing, conclusion.

The Remaining is out now on DVD from Sony Pictures.

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